Vintage Club Newsletter
June 1995

The Vintage Club AGM and annual Bath tasting took place in Bath on Saturday June 10th 1995. As usual it was held in 4 East servery, a room that was under threat earlier this year as the new Student Union TV lounge. Thankfully the University told them what to do with their idea, must be the first time I've ever agreed with university policy!

We had a turnout of 25 people, a little smaller than the previous year, but enough to fill the room. Lunch was provided by Ed and Chris in the usual inimitable Bath style, however this year as Chris was helping out with the buying there were some dead animal products floating about.

People arrived and got stuck in and the normal "Ooooh, haven't seen you in ages" and "How are you, have you heard about so-and-so" conversations were rife. Whilst partaking of the lunch, David Bailey lived up to his namesake and showed us some of his recent shots taken at the last Cambridge tasting. There was obviously something wrong with the chairs that Mike Brown and I were sat on.

After lunch had been devoured, Stuart Ruffle opened the AGM by announcing his retirement as secretary and I was duly proposed, seconded and voted in by the sheer fact that I was unopposed. No-one stood in opposition to Anne Wellings, and so she remains treasurer. Mark Masento proposed a vote of thanks to Stuart for all his hard work over the last two years.

We then got on to a few other matters. Firstly, the next tasting will probably be held in Cambridge in September. Jonathan Foweraker is again organising this tasting for us, and you will all be duly contacted when the date is set. If anyone wants to organise something before then, don't hesitate to contact me and I'll let everyone know what's going on.

Secondly, Mark again raised the point that next year is (finally) the 10th anniversary of the Vintage Club and so we should have a particularly special tasting. If anyone has any ideas about what we could do, again please contact me and let me know.

And finally, subscriptions are again due. The subscription has not increased for yet another year and so remains at £3.00 per person. This allows us to print out and send off these wonderful newsletters as well as cover any booking charges for rooms. We waive subscriptions for your first year, so if you have been coming to Vintage Club tastings for more then one year now, then please send your cheques, payable to 'The Vintage Club', to Anne as soon as possible. Those of you who have not coughed up for a while shall be blacklisted and will not receive any further newsletters, so there.

The tasting then got under way, with the theme being The Rugby World Cup 1995. This allowed a good selection of wines from all over the world with various connections to the theme as well as some non-connections. This year, for the first time, we asked people to get together and buy two of the same wine. This was to avoid the usual situation of having a small tasting portion of 40 wines, with no palate left at all when we come to the clarets... This change of tack worked well for this tasting, where there are generally a large group of people, so will probably be kept in for subsequent years.

The wines tasted at the Bath tasting, June 10th 1995.

o White 1: Karen Roberts

Le Bauchet Domaine des Aubuisières Vouvray demi-sec 1993. Oddbins £7.50

Ripe, sweet fruit with a hint of honey. Some people plumped for a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, possibly Pouilly/Sancerre in a hot year.
It was actually made from Chenin Blanc, but was from the Loire.

Connection was that France were still just in the cup (just).

o White 2: Niel Markwick

Hastings by Carr-Taylor, England. Somerfield £3.50

Mmm? Errrrr... Yes, well etc. Lots of people guessed at Western Samoa. Hints of Dettol... 'round the bend' and Ajax where mentioned. Pine was also detected. Extract of rugby players kit. Reminiscent of the Silver Birch wine taken to the Wimbledon tasting recently. We were then told that the name of the wine was the link to which some wag responded with "You mean... Mike Catt's piss?".

The link of course was Gavin Hastings.

o White 3: Ed Kay, Chris Edmead, Liz Wall and Nick Stevens.

Vintage Tanina Jermann 1992. Made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Rubinello and probably some other varieties thrown in for good measure. Reid Wines £19

Deep yellow colour. Lots of exotic fruits on the nose. Bazooka Joe bubble gum. Lots of comments about dirty-barrel chardonnay. Mike kept his options open by pronouncing it as either a New Zealand Gewurztraminer, an Italian Gargenaga, a Jacobs Creek Chardonnay or a young Alsation Gewurztraminer. Everyone else was reasonably baffled.

The link was that Italy were in the finals.

o White 4: Stuart and Katie Ruffle.

Kiwi Fruit Wine from Japan. No other information on the bottle. Bought in Japan about 3 years ago.

Lots of descriptions started to flow as people began to loosen up a bit after a few glasses of wine. This wine had hints of melon and solvent on the nose. Reminiscent of new cars. Cheesy Wotsits and orange juice was another option. It had a touch of sweetness about it, was very short but with mouth cleansing acidity. Good to use on mouth ulcers apparently. Guesses ranged from Loire Chenin to late picked Riesling.

By this stage we had two groups of people who were taking no notice of the proceedings at all. Nick was telling a group of people about his underpants, or something equally exciting, and the German contingent were huddled together discussing something that appeared to be most secret. I don't recall any more comments coming from that corner of the room all afternoon.
o Red 1: Stuart and Katie Ruffle

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir. Australia 1993. Oddbins £8.49

Incredibly light in colour with a slight haze. Creamy cheesecake and strawberry jam. Mark thought it smelt like chicken fagitas. Guesses were mainly in the South African Pinotage to New World Pinot range.

The connection being Australia were the current cup holders (not for long though!)

o Red 2: Anja Dietel, Georg Brauers and Sabine Heinz (The German contingent)

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 1993. Colchagua region, Chile. This vineyard is 50% owned by Rotschild. Oddbins £6.99

Purple-red colour A green nose. The conversation in the room at this point was revolving around hydrogen bombs and Ed Kay looking for a lost pen. Guesses ranged again from South African Pinotage through New Zealand Merlot to Gamay. All wild guesses of course.

There was no connection with this wine, because they didn't know about the theme! Too busy chatting amongst themselves, obviously.

o Red 3: Niel Markwick

Nemea Boutari 1992. A Greek wine made from the Agioritiko grape. Oddbins £4.00

Blood red with a spicy nose. Ed's pen is discovered. The general consensus was that this wine was an improvement on Niel's first wine. Guesses (and they certainly were guesses) ranged from Errr Southern French to Spanish?

I didn't write down a connection, so I doubt if there was one.

o Red 4: Mark Masento

Chateau Chasse-Spleen Moulis-en-Medoc AC 1986. A Cabernet dominated claret obviously. Cost around £15-00.

Almost black. Shouts of 'The Cabernet Hole!' from certain members of the audience. Rich ribena. Tons of blackcurrants on the palate, with hints of cigar boxes. A few people mentioned bitter cherries and so plumped for a Chianti, whilst those in the know went for a youngish claret.

The very tenuous connection was, and I quote: "Well, rugby is like football, and initially they used to kick around a pigs bladder for football. A pigs bladder is part of the body, as is the spleen, hence Ch Chasse-Spleen."

o Red 5: George Wickham and Beverley Thorne.

Chateau Brillette Moulis-en-Medoc AC (again!) 1986 Cru Bourgeois. Bought in France about 5 years ago for approx 75FF.

Deep blood red. George was apparently intrigued to know how old we thought this wine was. Soft tannins and blackcurrants. The general consensus was a claret.

Connection was of course, France.

o Red 6: Paul Savage.

Yarra Yerring Dry Red Wine No1 1992. Cabernet Sauvignon from Victoria, Australia. Oddbins £18

Almost pure black. Body like Victor Ubogu. Nose of violets. Room filled with sounds of enjoyment 'yum yum'. Palate was a lot softer than the nose suggested. You could cut this with a knife. Stuart tries very hard to say that its 'one dimensional' but with tact: "An Australian with a sense of proportion" to which Paul replied "How I like my women!". The general consensus was a blackcurrant pop from somewhere down under.

Connection being Australia.

o Red 7: Steve 'interesting' Mills and Gareth Barker

Montana Cabernet Sauvignon 1991. New Zealand. Victoria Wine £4.99

Dark Blood Red. Mark made some dissenting comments like.. 'vegetarians wine, all mint leaves and salad' Green peppers. Everyone except Ed liked this wine. Blackcurrant with some oak. France was the general option, with a few mentions of claret Caz mentioned that by the taste of it, someone had spent a lot of money on the oak.

Again, connection was simply New Zealand.

o Red 8: Caroline Gilby and David Bailey

KanonKop 1991. Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from Paul Sauer, Stellenbosch, South Africa. £10.99

Unfortunately, I spotted the seal on the neck of the bottle David poured and so knew where it came from. Dark Blood Red. Black cherries, followed by a discussion about whether it was real black cherries or artificial black cherry flavouring. Nick had moved on to talking about toilets in his corner. "Don't bend over in the shower" from Stuart. Good strong tannins balanced with a lot of fruit. Ed reckons its a Northern Italian and Mark thinks its Australian. Lots of people agree with Ed.

The link is that the man who makes this wine used to be a Springbok (for the uninitiated in the joys of rugby, this means he used to play rugby for South Africa, not that he was a gazelle like creature indigenous to South Africa)

o Red 9: Gary Hunt, Rebecca Huggins, Quentin Lambert and Jacqui Cutts.

Penfolds Magill Estates 1991 Shiraz, Australia. Oddbins £12.99

Dark Red/ Purple wine. Brazilian coffee beans, or maybe Colombian. A very 'mellow' nose. Creamy, buttery oak. This wine shimmered as the crystals of tartaric acid fell to the bottom of the glass. Everyone is intense on discussing what the picture on the cracks (?) is. (Well I've just got my whole office to try and decipher what that word was, and it looks like cracks, so cracks it is, but I'm sure I have no idea what it means.) Guesses ranged from Australian Cabernet/Shiraz through to South African Cabernet.

The link of course being that Australia became world champions in 1991.

o Sweet White 1: Mike and Claire Brown

I Capitelli Reccioto di Soave, Italy. Wine Rack, Threshers etc £8 for a half bottle.

Deep golden brown. Nutty, almond nose, rich sweet delicious nutty palate. "Not Welsh" and "Torcollata?" were the guesses.

Again, the link was simply Italy.

The general vote was then taken for favourite white and red wines.
The white was quite unanimous I think, being The Vintage Tanina from Ed, Chris, Liz and Nick.
The reds on the other hand had a bit more competition:
In fifth place with 5 votes was the Chateau Chasse-Spleen In fourth place with 7 votes was the Yarra Yerring, followed closely by the Chateau Brillete with 8 votes. Joint first place goes to the KanonKop and Penfolds Magill Estates with 13 votes each.

Ok, so these add up to more than 25, but everyone was allowed two votes in the red section.

After the tasting, the annual rounders match was staged, with teams being split by age. I think it worked out with 29/30 being the dividing line so Stuart managed to get himself onto the opposing side as me again. It started off well, with Ed Kay running out Mark and then looking around saying "Well, he shouldn't have been there". Upon this Mark picked up his bag and went home, not the only time one of Ed's comments has made someone walk off!

One of David's computer Dungeons and Dragons colleagues (also at the university) came across to meet him and they wandered into the outfield for a chat and occasionally got involved in the game. We eventually gave up because all the youngsters ran off to hide from the very very slight drizzle that was falling with the score at 2 rounders each. Obviously they were frightened of getting beaten again.

We all wandered down the hill and some of us went for a pint in The Bell, famed hostelry which now has its own CyberCafe, followed by a meal at an Italian restaurant. The meal was very average, however I subscribe to the school of thought that says 'If you can cook it easily at home, why go to a restaurant to eat it?'. Others thoroughly enjoyed themselves though.

The following day saw a small gathering at Eds place to watch some rugby, but most people had gone by then anyway.

Here endeth the events of the weekend.
And now a quick recap for the hard of understanding:

That's all I have to say for now, except the tasting notes follow, along with an almost up to date address list of VC members.

Enjoy votre plonk